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Hiring based on intangible elements

Veronica C. | May 2, 2012

As you hire graduates for premium entry level positions at your organization, it's important to keep in mind quantifiable elements of candidate's professional and academic experience. For instance, level of performance at a past college internship or a glowing recommendation from a professor can help you understand an applicant's ambition and work ethic. Likewise, GPA and writing samples shed some light on the quality of work you can expect from a particular individual.

While these considerations are vital in selecting the ideal hires for your company, it's often the intangible elements that will help you make a final decision. This is especially true when you come up against two seemingly identical candidates and only have one available position – qualities like personality, attitude, charisma, personal responsibility and ability to improvise can point you toward the better of two great applicants. Though you should never hire based solely on these intangibles, they often indicate where someone will or won't fit and success in at your organization.

When considering such subjective traits, it's important that you have an idea of what the position demands of an employee. Failure to understand which intangible qualities are essential for a particular job is a surefire way to be led astray by personal biases.

For instance, a person with natural charisma and charm may have you gushing about how he or she is the next great talent at your organization, but these are not vital qualifications for a position as a computer engineer. Unless that natural charisma is balanced by vast technical knowledge, the candidate simply isn't right for the job. However, if that same person is applying for a career in sales or public relations, you can be sure that he or she will be great in that role.

Early in the hiring process for any position at your company, make sure you come up with a list of particular intangible traits that you believe an ideal candidate should have. Then, you'll know what is and isn't relevant to the position as you begin interviewing applicants. And above all, don't forget to balance these considerations with the most important tangible traits.

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Category: Employers

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